Here is a small riddle for you: Cross out six letters so that the remaining letters, without altering their sequence will spell a familiar English word:
B S A I N X L E A T N T E A R S
Play it while before reading this post further…… If you want to read the answer, continue reading
In mid 1960’s a Director of Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI, USA) was reading a typed copy of letter which he dictated to his secretary. He was uncomfortable with the format of the letter. Therefore, he wrote on the bottom of the letter: ‘Watch the borders’.
He meant to say to his secretary that she should retype the letter and align the borders of the letter properly. Do you know what happened next?
For the next two weeks, FBI agents were put on special alert along the Canadian and Mexican ‘borders’.
The above story illustrates two main reasons why most people try to avoid ambiguity:
- Ambiguous situations are confusing
- Ambiguous situation cause communication problems
As a result, we are taught to avoid ambiguity. This is a good rule to follow for most practical situations like giving directions, drawing up contracts etc. However, at times, ambiguity may also prove to be a powerful stimulant to generate creativity in daily live. If you want to start creative process, you can ask these questions:
- What’s going on here?
- What does this mean?
- How else can this be interpreted?
These are special questions one should ask when you want to generate new ideas. If someone asks you: What is half of 8? You might say ‘4’ or you might say ‘eig’ or 0 or 3 or any other thing depending upon you define ‘half’
So, how was your above exercise of six letters?
There are many ways to interpret it. One of the ways is to simply think to find six letters to cross out so that a ten letter word is remaining. (Were you thinking the same?)
Suggested answer: cross out ‘SIX LETTERS’ from the above and see the answer…..
Above are the ideas from Roger Von Oech’s book: ‘A Whack on the Side of the HEAD’. How you can be more creative? Would you like to share your thoughts? More ideas from the book in coming days.
Here is another creative thought for you: If camels are the ships of desserts, why are boats and ships not camels of the sea?
Now, riddle for the day:
Put a single line to these Roman letters to make it eight:
That was simple. Isn’t that?
You can put a line at the end to make it VIII
Here is little challenge for you to think. Do write answer in the comment section below this post:
By adding only a single line to the above (IX), turn it into 6……
Have a good day and share your thoughts!